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'Cities are laboratories for social and economic trends'


'Cities are laboratories for social and economic trends'

On 7 May, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, held a key note speech at the "First Austrian Urban Regions' Day" in Graz.

The Commissioner stressed the importance of urban regions for the economic development of the EU and the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy: "The cities are laboratories for social and economic trends, both in positive and negative respect. They are at the forefront of innovation as they are confronted with problems like pollution, CO2 emission and social tensions for which they have to develop sustainable solutions".

The Commissioner stressed also the economic capacity of the cities, with 85% of GDP generated in urban regions. "That's why we have foreseen also in the forthcoming period 2014-20 sufficient budgetary means and tailormade programmes to promote urban development".

During his programme in Graz, the Commissioner visited also a best practice project for innovative urban development: the "Smart City Project Graz" which will enable the use of new urban energy technologies, resulting in a "zero emission urban district". Commission Hahn called the "Smart City" a "real European flagship project", which implements exactly the objectives we want to achieve with our urban policy: innovation, energy efficiency and the creation of new "smart" jobs".